Which is better screen printing or heat transfer?
www.iprintingpress.com (CNY Label Ribbon/Textile Tapes Printing Machines Manufacture in China)
Today, people like to have their unique designs printed on materials. Because they want to shine out from the crowd rather than following typical trends. If you want to print a unique design on your t-shirt, there are two approaches. Screen printing and heat transfer printing are two options for you to select. Some of you might not sure about your preference between these two options. But you don't need to worry. Because we're going to discuss both methods in detail. Both processes have their properties, benefits, and drawbacks. So, let's get straight into it!
Screen printing is an incredible printing technology. It's been here for thousands of years. It’s an effective approach to print single-colored or full-colored designs on materials. It is flexible that the user’s imagination is the only limitation!
The screen-printing method uses a mesh stencil to print the patterns on different materials. In this process, you can cut the meshes to create a stencil for the designs. Then put some inks on the stencil, the ink will penetrates through the mesh by the pressure of the scraper to the underneath material surface. You can print only one color per screen stencil. So, for multi-colors printing work, you might need many different screens to finish the final product printing. In this method, you need a different stencil for each color. Due to which it increases your initial cost. But this method works like a stencil. It implies that it costs less per unit when the quantity of the product is higher.
The reason for the popularity of the screen-printing technique is its good colorfastness. Because you can use it to print on darker materials. Meanwhile, it's a famous method to reproduce a design. It can reproduce your design many times. As you can use the same stencil in replicating a design.
Screen printing pros
- Screen printing is suitable for large quantities when it comes to cost.
- Outcomes of screen-printed fabrics are better and give a softer-feel to fabrics.
- The designs of screen printing are durable and long last.
- It permits more vibrant colors and can print even on dark-colored fabrics.
Screen printing cons
- It's quite limited with few colors for simple designs.
- This process is a bi time-consuming.
- It's not suitable for a small project because it's quite expensive to set-up. It requires a large number of printing orders.
- This process is not ideal for photo reproduction.
- It includes more equipment and chemicals than the heat transfer method.
Heat transfer is a popular method of printing garments. This process implies to transfer the printed design to the materials from the paper. It uses heat and pressure to transfer the pattern. By this method, you can print the design on specialty paper with specialty ink, then transform it on the substrates with a heat press by using heat.
There's a heat-sensitive adhesive on heat-applied materials. When you apply the heat to the material, the material adheres to its substrate. Transfer printing is becoming more popular in the textile industry. This method allows you to print full-colored designs or pictures on garments. Because of the latest advancements in heat transfer technologies, this process became popular. It is likewise simpler to print on garments by using this method. But this process needs more time. Like it takes around three minutes to print one product.
Heat transfer pros
- When it comes to heat transfer printing, it is clean and environment-friendly. That makes it an ideal method to adopt safety and health-conscious working environments.
- It involves formulated inks, advanced graphics techniques, and the latest software. Because of these, it provides you the adaptability and greater control that gives you superb outcomes like high-quality final products.
- It includes the use of different colors, as far as they do not collapse.
- It involves the pressing of photographic materials.
- This method is not costly for small runs of printing.
Heat transfer cons
- This method's set-up cost is very expensive.
- It is costly when it comes to printing large quantities of garments.
- It doesn't involve layer colors, because the substrates will become heavy or bulky.
- The printing by the heat transfer method will never last long.
- After a few washes, the print of heat transfer gets fade.
- The prints do not look professional as compared to a screen-printed t-shirt.
- It involves printing on light-colored t-shirts only.
- The print not precise, and it's stiff.
- The print might invoke sweating.
- You can not use iron on the print.
Screen Printing Vs Heat Transfer Quality
When it comes to printing quality, there are two different factors to consider. Those two factors are resolution and durability. The heat-transfer results yield a higher resolution of the picture to start. But the design will not last long as compared to the screen-printed items.
The fresh prints by heat transfer might appear in better quality. But after some time, the graphics of the screen-printing will appear better in quality.
The ink becomes a crucial part of the materials during the screen-printing process. But in heat-transfer, the ink only stays on the surface of the fabric. That is the reason heat-transfer can't hold up well to drying or machine washing. It might crack and fade after some time. Yet, screen-printing tends to have an excellent colorfastness.
Screen-prints might hold up better colorfastness, but there's a limitation in the design's complexity. Heat transfer gives you more freedom of colors by printing a fresh-looking picture, but again, that look will not last long.
The Right Choice
Which printing method is the right choice for you depends on your own needs. To decide between these two, you need to find the answers to the following questions.
- Does your imprint picture have a detailed and complicated design? If yes, then heat transfer will print the best picture and is inexpensive.
- Does your imprint picture include more colors?If yes, then heat transfer is the right method.
- What is the color of the product that you want to print on?
If it's dark, then screen printing will print the more vibrant picture. If it's light, then heat transfer will have a more vibrant appearance.
- Does your target audience is environment-friendly?If yes, then heat transfer will add value.
- How many quantities of the products you need?
If it's less than 500 pcs, then heat transfer is the more cost-effective approach. If it's more than 500 pcs, then screen printing is the more cost-effective approach.
- Does your target audience prefer a higher-end appearance or longer-lasting result?
For higher quality and short-term, heat transfer is the right choice for you. For lower resolution and lasting design, screen printing is the right choice for you.
Both approaches provide great solutions to printing designs on t-shirts or other products. But heat transfer and screen printing both are great solutions for different printing requirements. So, which is better heat transfer or screen printing? The right answer is " It depends on your needs and your target audience.” Because both serve their own purposes. To sum up, if you have a small order and complex design, choose heat transfer. Also, if the design includes parts like names or numbers, heat transfer is the best bet. But if you have a large order and need solid colors, screen printing is the best.